Friday, May 29, 2009

“I'd rather be 10 percent undertrained then 1 perent overtrained.”— Michellie Jones

A lot of races are coming up and a few athletes may have the desire to do a few extra workouts, push themselves a little bit harder, or try to make up missed practices in hope of becoming the fastest they can be on race day. Unfortunately, all they are doing is undermining their training and setting their selves up for disaster. When athletes disregard their training plans and do an extra workout each week, or push their body past their endurance, strength, and speed limits, they increase the chances of injury, illness, burnout and overtraining.

I know with the desire to do well, it will lead to temptations to do more or work harder. You think about that swim practice you slept in or the day you missed a track practice because of work/happy hour/etc… and the day you only rode 60 instead of 110 because the rain and lighting prevented you from finishing it and you think I need do more to catch up. Well, you can’t! Missing that workout or cutting it short will not have any effect on your performance. Trying to make up for it could have an affect, but not in a good way.

Basically, when an athlete tries too hard to improve their performance and train beyond the body's ability to recover it is known as Overtraining.

Symptoms of Overtraining are:
Problems with sleep
Weakened immune system
Elevated resting Heart Rate
Inability to relax, twitchy, fidgety
Not meeting your workout goals

The intelligent athlete trains within the body’s limits and only pushes their threshold during their scheduled workouts. They follow their training plan and trust that it will get them in the best possible position for their ‘A’ race. I know that everyone has heard the tern ‘no pain, no gain’, but each workout has a purpose and not every workout needs to be max effort or max intensity.

When a workout becomes very hard, your speed decreases noticeably, or your technique changes, it is time to call it a day. If you’re unsure about it, ask a coach and let them know how you feel and what’s going on. It’s a coach’s job not only to motivate you, but to keep you from overtraining. The better you do at a race, the better you make us look.
Coach C.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Core & More

Everyone knows the value of maintaining a strong CORE. We do crunches, plank, squats, lunges, jump rope, push-ups, hamstring curls and any other exercises that we can think of to increase our strength. Keeping up with these exercises provides huge benefits during the training season, including helping with injury prevention, balance and stability. This we know.

However, one thing that athletes sometimes fail to understand is how much load these core exercises can put on their muscles (especially leg exercises like lunges & squats). Below are a few important points to consider:

FIRST: You want to be especially careful with your core workout during the taper phase of your training. It is important to head into race day with muscles that are fresh and rested. I found last year that many athletes were still attending core class the week before their big race. They would cut their swim/bike/run mileage or intensity, but they were still pounding out the lunges and squats just a few days before race day.

My plan of attack leading up to an "A" race is to cut out my "intense" core work for at least two weeks before the race. It is ok to do some light core exercises (ex. crunches or plank), but I steer clear of leg exercises or anything that is going to load my muscles (a.k.a. make them sore). If I am heading into a "training race" that is lined up on my schedule, I will still meet my core hours for the week but may decrease the intensity to 70-80%. The overall benefits of completing the core class are more important for my training, but I still want to limit soreness going into a race.

SECOND: An extra yoga class is a good way to supplement your core workout for the few weeks leading up to your "A" race. This is a great way to incorporate light core work into your training without putting too much stress on the muscles. It also forces you to stretch more than you probably would...which of course if ALWAYS helpful!

NEXT: Don't try to "cram" in all of the core workouts you missed along the way. Ideally you want to keep up with your workouts throughout the season. However, if you don't...three weeks before your big race is not the time to start doing 100 pushups per day. Try to incorporate some light core work into your schedule, but don't ramp up the intensity at the last minute.

FINALLY: Leading up to race-day, you will also want to steer clear of trying any NEW core exercises. In other words, you don't want to start doing yoga the week before a race if you have never been to a yoga class before. If your body is not used to certain exercises, you will most likely feel some sort of soreness or stiffness after that workout. The last thing you want to do is pull something or injure yourself trying something new right before the race. Just like they say, "don't try something new on race day." The same applies for the week before the race!

If you have any questions about core exercises, feel free to ask! Happy training!

-Coach Suzanne

Monday, May 11, 2009

Are you mental????

Having your head on straight is a key element to any distance triathlon. It doesn’t matter if it’s a super sprint or an ultraman, you need to have your wits about you.
The biggest things I think I can stress to you all is that your need to trust your training. Doing the work will work better for you than say going out and buying a new crank, fancy wheels or a pointy helmet. The training is what gets you to the start line and then the finish line.
Mental focus throughout your training is HUGE!!!! Staying focused at the task at hand has done me wonders when I am trying to push through whatever obstacle I am have thrown at me at that time. This weekend on the long ride there were a few times where I was letting my mind wander and I caught myself thinking of other things other than the ride. Not only does focusing on the task @ hand keep you safe but I believe it will get you to the finish line faster. If I start to think of the Red Sox game the night before my cadence falls off and then the speed decreases. Not good!! Throughout my rides and runs I go through my mental checklist to make sure I am still focusing on what I am doing. If it’s the bike I am focusing on my cadence, foot position, my shoulders and of course…. am I drinking enough water? My run I focus on my foot strike, my knees, my back and of course….am I drinking enough water?
The last few weeks (when I have been healthy) I have been doing a lot of my workouts solo or with one other person so that I don’t get caught up in the social aspect of the workout. It’s just me out there and no one else. I have really seen improvements in my mental strength during workouts because of the lack of distractions. My mental focus is sharper and I am having better rides, runs and even swims.
In closing……again trust your training. It’s what is going to get you where you want to be.
Stay focused
Stay sharp
Stay on top of YOUR game

Coach Logan